Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

Happy Holidays

Sunday, December 27, 2009

We the would just like to wish you the.
And a Happy New Year.
Thank you for making this year a particularly special one for us.

Avatar: A Review

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ello All,

This post is a bit overdue but after watching it for a second time today, I realised James Cameron's Avatar did not deserve to go un-reviewed any longer.

For months now Tejas has been banging on about the movie and it's revolutionary technology and how it had the potential to change the landscape of film making. Personally, I was sceptical. Mostly because watching films like Ninja Assassin made me think that there was little left to revolutionise in modern cinematography and motion capturing. Specially not something worth a 12 year wait.

And then I saw it.

We don't usually swear on this blog but $#%&.

You know how Roald Dahl can take the simplest of stories and enchant them with wit and irony? Well, James Cameron's done the same damn thing only he's used unbelievable CGI and an overwhelming attention to detail.

The story line is simple and some could even say cliche. But no film, that has ever used any of the plot elements here before, be it aliens, romance, action, nature or the future, has ever told a story as beautifully as Cameron's team has done here.

The twin analogies of 'making' war for profit and the destruction of our ecosystem are put across in, till now, the most effective way I've ever seen. The idea behind "Tsahelu" a physical bond through energy (in the film through fat nerves coming out of your pony tail) to the planet and world that one lives in is possibly my favorite idea for the next few years.

But it's the attention to detail that makes this movie so immense. The tools and materials used by the "Na'vi" tribe, the language they came up with, the almost infinite inhabitants and elements in that incredible forest (The glowing had me gaping...) the little things about the aliens, such as the fact that all their animals have six legs (I suspect that has something to do with lower gravity...) and the fact that the real aliens have three fingers while the Avatars have four, all come together and make this film so incredibly HUGE I don't feel even slightly bad saying it's one of the defining movies of this decade.

In terms of acting I must say Sam Worthington doesn't make me cringe anymore. In fact he was quite freaking awesome in his 'Avatar'. The stand out performance for me though was that of Zoe Saldana who has quite swiftly become one of my favorite actresses. I suggest we all look out for her. From the looks of it she's one of the few raw, ballsy actors out there.

For now, go and have yourself a thorougly fulfilling 3-D experience. And a Happy New Year!

Ps. Long time no post. Apologies but you know how it is- you're trying to get into a big new course so you start arbitrarily checking people for hypertension and revolutionise Indian Radio. Good times.

French Women Don't Get Fat

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It’s true. French women have always been unfairly slender, with unfairly perfect skin, and even the sloppiest of French women are born with an inherent grace that most of us can’t even begin to fake. We can buy Chanel clutch purses , use Crème de la Mer, and even master the art of rolling our “R’s”, but there’s something about the French that we can never achieve.

Which is why, when I read a review about Mireille Guiliano’s “French Women Don’t Get Fat”, my attention was immediately aroused. It was an extremely funny article, about how the French are the only ones not overly affected by the scary “R” word. They drink as much wine as ever, and take longer lunch hours than they ever did. In fact, this particular journalist, pointed out that the reason the French aren’t so hit by Recession is BECAUSE of their long lunch breaks. It makes sense. The French will wake up as late as they like, they’ll have a leisurely breakfast, and get to work. But, when they reach office, they are so relaxed and rejuvenated, they give work their 200%. While in the US and the UK, people will scramble out of bed, battle with ties and pantyhose, and drink at least 5 venti lattes by the time they reach work. Then they’ll proceed to update their Facebook/Twitter, play Solitaire, meet colleagues at the coffee machine and productivity is basically nil. The article was so brilliantly written, with such marveilleuse insights, that when the journalist briefly mentioned “French Women Don’t Get Fat”, I knew I HAD to get my hands on it.

The logic that Guiliano presented to the world appealed to me because Ive been following it all my life : Eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Eat butter, white bread, chocolate, drink wine - just do it in moderation. If you feel like eating chocolate, and you immediately get your hands on it, you’ll end up eating a few squares. Your body’s demands have been instantly satisfied. However, if you try fighting your desire for chocolate, your body not only gets cranky, there comes a point when you stop fighting and youre cramming bars and bars of chocolate into your mouth like a crazy person. Never let yourself get hungry. Then you will never let yourself get stuffed. It is sound logic, and it seemed refreshing after all the calorie counting and banning of foods that other diets have strutted out.

Unfortunately, when Harry hunted it (and its sequel) down for me and it became my “Welcome home!” present, the book didn’t live upto my expectations, its review or its status as a present. While it’s a more entertaining read than most diet books, and its underlying logic is extremely sound, theres that certain something lacking that leaves the reader untouched. Its sequel on the other hand, “French Women for all Seasons” is a beautiful book, and one of my many books with a broken spine and many folded down pages. Guiliano seems to have put more of her heart into her sequel, with more personal histories, beautifully told with the occasional French phrase thrown in for poetic measure. While her first book tells you what to do and how to eat (including weekly menus!) her second book tells it like it is, which makes it even more a pleasure to read.

However, despite my criticism of “French Women Don’t Get Fat”, I hail her moot point as genius. It is a relief to finally have the ultimate non-diet book that dictates “the secret of eating for pleasure” One of my favourite chapters in the book, is one dedicated entirely to chocolate. Apparently, many French women say “Je deprime donc je chocolate” or “When I’m down, I chocolate”

It was a refreshing chapter to read in a so-called diet book, and so, as a tribute to the chapter and my father, I decided to try one of the recipes : Chocolate-Espresso Faux Souffles. A very simple recipe, I think Guiliano has made it so many times, she forgot that most people attempting are doing so for the first time. I followed her recipe perfectly the first time round, and had to discard it and start from scratch, switching around steps. And while I spent the night cursing her and her book, this morning I got up and actually tried the soufflé. I died, and went to heaven. Unlike my parents who gobbled their unset soufflés last night, I decided that all my exertions deserved to let it set properly. It was good that I did, because its perfect. Firm on the outside and molten chocolate inside. The kind of chocolate that makes you want to open chocolate museums (which apparently, the French have already done, thanks to recipes like this)

To quote Guiliano, who quoted Colette, a table of food should be seen as un rendez-vous d’amour et d’amitie (a date with love and friendship) Enjoy your food, savour it, eat for pleasure, and you may never have to worry about getting fat again.

KT Tunstall's New Material

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hello everybody. I realise this may come off as a really geeky, stalk-ery post, but know that I do this for all the KT fans worldwide. I realised that since She had not updated her website in a long time, but sparks and rumours began to fly around summer time about a new album, that possibly they was something coming around maybe towards the end of this year(now). So let me at the very outset say that this is a comprehensive-ish post about all the information I have gathered about KT's new work, by scouring the internet and finding bits and bobs of news. Also the album is in all probability coming out sometime in the first half of 2010. Though she also mentioned somewhere that she wanted to record her new album in a solar power studio, but I haven't heard any news of her recording any new material anywhere so far. Personally I hope she's on it but also since she was touring during her first year of marriage, I hope she has time to chill as well.

No name has been released for an album, and I have not yet heard of any pre-production yet, but here are some of her new tracks that she's being playing at live gigs.

1. Poison in Your Cup: This one's about George Bush I heard, still proving to be the inspiration for many songs, articles, etc. She performed this one solo with her 'wee bastard' loop pedal at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship 2009. Very dramatic, very powerful slow number.

2. Fireworker: One of my favourites right now, typical drastic fantastic KT, almost like a major version of 'Hold On' and catchy chorus.

3. Madame Trudeau: Going back the 'Black Horse' style here, about a former Canadian president's wife who apparently ran off to be with the Rolling Stones.

4. The Hidden Part: This one is actually from a fundraising compilation album called 'Songs for Survival' in aid of endangered Amazon tribes, which explains the track's very early american-red-indian-river-valley type, but again with her mellow vocals, proves to be quite surreal. Good quality recording in the link.

Other songs are 'Turn Into You' (probably destined to become a B-Side) and Scarlet Tulip, a slowish standard expected from her in almost all her albums (like 'Paper Aeroplane' or 'Silent Sea') and these new songs should sound even better in studio quality.
Anyway the point of all this that KT will always have great songs, because A: she has a great band to back up her vocals and melodies, and that B she's an experienced live artist touring for almost 10 years before she was discovered, thus making her a goldmine of yet unreleased-but-supremely-awesome songs. Also this was therapeutic for me in a way, finally I could devise a way to re-listen to all her new stuff, from links on a single page.
If there are any updates or otherwise, that I have missed, please inform me.

Also KT, if there's any chance in hell you are reading this, please just come to India and to like Mumbai this time. I know you were in the Rajasthani desert! She jammed with Rajasthani percussionists! She and Luke Bullen (Her husband) played a Dhol-type drum (A much bigger one)!
Can't believe I didn't know about that. I would have gone to Tilonia.

The All of us.

The All of us.