Monday, July 28, 2008

Prison Break ... !!

One of the most thrilling TV shows that I have ever seen ... that would be an understatement. One that has kept me glued to my DVD player/laptop for the last 2 weeks. Here is a brief run through of the show.

Michael Scofield is a stuctural engineer who wants to rescue his brother Lincon Burrows from the Fox River jail in Chicago. Lincon has been falsely charged with the murder of the Vice President's brother. Apparently, there is an organization called The Company who is behind this incorrect framing of Lincon. They have trapped him in such a way that the video tape of him shooting the Vice President's brother looks very real. All attempts to prove him innocent go a begging. There is Lincon's ex-girlfriend (Veronica, who is an attorney) who is giving it a last shot at the behest of Michael.

So what about it? Well, Michael knows the internal path map of Fox River jail and has inherent "genius" capabilities. By this, I don't mean that he is a magician but he has an amazing analytical mind. He has the blueprint of the jail tattooed on his upper body. The only thing remaining is that he needs to get into the jail. He does so by attempting a armed bank robbery. And Michael enters Fox River.

But life is not rosy at the jail. He has to share his secret with his cell mate, played fantastically by Fernando Sucre (reel name). But then various other characters flare up unknowingly who also want to get away. Each character is well penned and has a telling impact on the storyline. Parallely, Veronica is being hounded by the Company at every step. Michael also falls in love with the jail doctor, Sarah.

The first season is all about creating the path out of jail for Michael and his co-conners. The build up is immaculate and leaves you wanting for more. The climax to the first season is mind boggling. They leave the prison after another potentially disastrous secret is leaked out(I don't want to spoil the fun).

The second season basically deals with the conners running all around America trying to escape the police as well as the FBI (headed by Alexander Mahone). The conners go their separate ways (Michael and Lincon go together of course) but its apparent their paths will cross again since all of them now know about the secret. Its a bit odd to start watching season 2 with the focus shifting to outside the prison since you are so used to seeing the prison all the time.

Michael trains his mind on proving the innocence of brother, which is no trivial task. This includes a wild manhunt for all the Fox River detractors across the map of America. In the meantime, all conners meet again as destined at the place of the secret. The way each one of them ends up there is amazing. This is one of the most thrilling phases of the series. Although, they unearth the secret, not everything goes according to plan for Michael and his brother. The conners separate again.

Michael and Lincon get their hands onto some crucial evidence which can exonerate Lincon of all charges but the story takes a crucial twist which again sends the brothers on the run. Season 2 ends on a fantastic note and Season 3 promises to be just as lively.

My personal favorites from the series are ...

1). Sucre's undying love for MariCruz.
2). T-Bag's ruthless and cunning character.
3). Michael's determination to save his brother.
4). Mahone's relentless pursuit of the brothers. He matches Michael punch for punch in Season 2.
5). Kellerman's character
6). C-Note's love for his family
7). Their first attempt to escape
8). The way Sarah prevents herself from expressing her love for Michael
9). The camaraderie between the brothers
10). Michael's plan on his tattoo
11). The Dont-Trust-Anyone attitude of every escapee.
12). Fox River. I would love to end up there. Its beautiful ... :).

My top 3 characters from the series would be Sucre, Lincon and T-Bag.

I can go on and on. I start Season 3 tonight ... Cheers ... !!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hooked onto movies ... !!

Yeah, I never imagined I would be saying that of all people. I have never been a movie freak and in some sense, I am still not. Its just that I have never seen (or wanted to see) so many movies in a short duration. Having a USB DVD player is the biggest motivation I guess :)

We started of seeing Manorama Six Feet Under. The genre is more or less like Johnny Gaddar, although the narrative is completely different. You can call it a thriller and to be honest, I quite liked it. Something to do with an offbeat cast that always catches my fancy ... !!

This movie really kick started my fad. When I came to office the next day, I logged into our office movie Server and asked some of my more esteemed movie afficianado friends to help me select some good movies. The 2 that I took home that day were THE PRESTIGE and THE DEPARTED. Since I do not understand English movies all that well (I hate that), I could never dare to watch it alone. My wife gave me company for both the movies.

THE PRESTIGE was the first one. We started watching it at around 9 pm and I fell asleep watching the movie at around 10 pm. This is no way speaks about the movie. Its just that I was sleepy. We completed the movie the next day and I didn't understand what was going on. Blame it on the non continuity ... !! My wife had to painfully explain each and every part of the movie, literally dissecting the movie. I could sense the irritation coz I was not able to fathom the simplest of things. Me and my English movie jinx.

Anyway, later in the week, we visited a multiplex to watch Jaane Tu ... I liked the movie. Reminded me of my college days and my group of friends.

We sat through THE DEPARTED in a few days time. Though there was not a lot in this movie to not understand, a quarter of the movie was dedicated to swearing. We had a tough time separating the proper words from the so called expletives. But still, the confused look on my face wasn't going to go away. This time I didn't ask my wife anything about the movie ... which does not mean I grasped everything ... :)

When I came to office the next day, it was back to movie hunting. I saw the Oceans series on the movie server and took it home. Unfortunately, Oceans 11 was corrupt and I didn't want to see the sequels before Oceans 11. So I came back to office the next day and began the routine again. Some of my friends had suggested that a TV series called Prison Break is very nice. I asked one of my colleagues to get the first season of this series.

Currently, we have seen the first 3 episodes of the series and it sure is gripping. All this has happened in the last week or so. But one thing is for sure. My constant grappling with English movies is here to stay ... I expect to go one up sometime ... Cheers ... !!

Monday, July 07, 2008

All in a day's time ... !!

One of the most tiring days of my life.

We(Biwi, Dinesh and I) had planned a trek to Rajmachi. We left from Pune by train at 8 am. Since we were late coming to the railway station, we had to stand all the way till Lonavla. After we reached Lonavla at around 9:30 am, we had breakfast in a nearby hotel which was a 10 minute walk from the station. We then headed towards Tungarli Dam, since the way to Rajmachi was from there. It took us another 45 minutes to walk upto Tungarli. The Dam itself was not very appealing. After spending some time there, we started walking towards Rajmachi. It seemed like a never ending walk. Slopes and Climbs were the order of the day. We kept walking till 2:30 pm until we cam across a waterfall. We had asked several people on the way about distance left to Rajmachi. Every person told us that it would take a long time. When we reached this waterfall, we were still 2 hours away from the base village and another 30 minutes away from the fort. We were walking since 9:40 am. We had walked close to 11 kms till now.

Since we needed to get back to station (and more importantly out of the jungles before dark), we decided we will abort the trek and head back. We started walking back towards Lonavala with the Rajmachi peak lurking in the background. By the time we descended from Tungarli, we were almost dead and we had walked close to 20 kms.

We found solace in a Bhutta vendor who was also serving tea. Though we didnt have any Bhuttas and neither did we have a lot of tea, we gorged on the tasty Farsaan he was vending. So much so, that we finished all the Farsaan that he had. A samaritan (God?) dropped us till Lonavla station when we asked him for a lift. God Bless Him.

It was 7:20 pm when we reached Lonavla station. Fortunately, there was a train waiting there bound to Pune. Biwi got into the ladies compartment where she found a place to sit but Dinesh and I were not so lucky. Another 90 minute ordeal !!!

I was so tired that I removed my shoes inside the compartment amidst such a heavy rush. We were glad to find a place to sit in the doorway at Pimpri.

Finally, we reached Pune at 8:50 pm and bid adieu to Dinesh. It was 9:15 when we got home. We badly needed a bath and we also needed some alcohol. After the bath, I realized it was Sunday and I knew there were lots of sporting events taking place.

When I switched on the TV, I expected news channels to flash the winner of Wimbledon. But I didn't see anything. When I tuned into Star Sports, there was no live coverage. The play was halted due to rain with Nadal leading 6-4, 6-5, 4-5. Man, this was unexpected. I mean I knew Nadal would play well but 2 sets to love was amazing.

Biwi was rooting for Federer and I was cheering Nadal. By the end of the 4th set, we were cheering both. When the final rain delay came, it was frustrating as a viewer. But when it restarted, Nadal pushed Federed to every corner of the court to win 9-7 in an epic final. Easily the best final that I have seen. Reminded me of another epic between Agassi and Ivanisevic in the 1992 final.

Lewis Hamilton also rejoiced by winning a rain soaked British Grand Prix at Silverstone. India lost the Asia Cup final to a deserving Lankan side. Luke Ronchi and David Hussey hit 20 ball half centuried against the West Indies.

To cap it off, we raised a toast to the eventful day by sipping a shot of Antiquity, even though our heels, calfs and thighs ached throughout the night.

I will definitely give Rajmachi another shot ... Cheers ... !!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Birthday tragedy ... !!

I was in the middle of a conversation with one of my friends who was celebrating his birthday. When I asked him his age, he told me that it was his 26th birthday. When I asked him his birth year, he told me it was 1982. I didn't speak for the next 10 minutes or so. I don't know what struck me but I felt weird about the way we celebrate birthdays. It was like someone hitting me with a rock. I couldn't quite fathom the fact that the day we are born isn't counted as our first birthday. Think of it.

Citing my example, I was born on April 29th, 1982. So, that should count as my first birthday. Yes, we are talking numbers ... plain numbers and not AGE. So, I should be celebrating my 28th birthday in 2009 and not my 27th. Yes, I will be 27 ... but that's my age. I would say AGE and BIRTHDAY COUNT are 2 completely different entities. I feel its grave disrespect to the day that we are born as to not count it as our first birthday.

In essence, the birthdays that follow the first are not actually birthdays because ... If you take the simple English meaning, BIRTHDAY translates to THE DAY YOU ARE BORN. 'Anniversary' or 'Remembrance' may be better words for it.

I cant strike out one birthday from my life ... I just cant ... especially if its the reason I live today ... Cheers ... !!