Thursday, October 26, 2006


So, its not utterly accurate. But I saw the Umrao Jaan photo (latter) and somehow it reminded me of the Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam poster (former). Photos courtesy the two sites who have their names spread all over them. Thought I should blog the useless noting of coincidence. More useful would be a blog that has all my favorite Aishwarya Rai posters. At least she can't giggle incessantly in photographs :-)

The music for the movie is out and the movie is a week away from release. I like the music. Its not bad, but Anu Malik has let himself down. Most compositions are inspired by songs I have heard before and Alka is not Asha. Anu Malik had a great chance to outdo his work in Refugee, but he has missed the bus. Yet, it remains one of the better music scores of a year filled with dissapointing music overall.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Truth Is Out There

Shipped it! Internet Explorer 7 is out the door, and I am mighty thrilled. Worked on the product since its inception to delivery and its been a fun and challenging ride. If you are a Microsoft-basher, or inclined to go for other products simply because they are non-Microsoft, this blog ain't the place today. Today's the day to bask and relax for me.

You can download it from The site does a good job of explaining the new goodness we have brought to the browser, but I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Maybe you can install IE 7 and use it to subscribe to the RSS feed of this blog. :-) Note that I don't generally talk about my work, and this is an exception. I considered it reason enough. The next such post that comes out will happen when Vista ships. I felt it necessary to post this because it is easy to lose sight of the impact that your work can have. Without a browser, you'd be surfing your hard drive :-) In case of the product I work on, that'd be most people on the planet who surf the internet.

Go IE!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ekta Kapoor For President

I have been on the wagon as far as Indian channels is concerned for the past few months. My parents came to visit me and gave the perfect excuse to get Zee TV and Sony TV back on my viewing radar (no Star TV here). From the brilliant news that Zee TV produces (every news item starts and ends with, ‘wahaan ka mahaul kaisa hai?’) to the ads of Ajmeri Baba and Peer Syed Sahib that promise to end my life’s problems in 72 hours, or my money back, these channels bring a different world to my living room. Don’t get me wrong. I am more desi than pardesi. I read at least four Indian newspapers every day, I watch practically all the movies that are released, I hear more music than most people would spend time on, but television has always been out of scope. Every visit to India though is punctuated with a day or two spent in watching everything that my Mom watches (I have seen Indian men scurry out of the room when Kyonki … starts). I believe Ekta Kapoor must be one of the most influential people of our generation. Flash-forwards, flash-backwards, her serials are larger than movies. Almost like an entire nation is hypnotized.

The serials are absolutely brilliant and very enjoyable if you watch it with the right frame of mind. Sample this. In ‘Kasamh Se’ (no, I didn’t misspell it), the heroine Baani (Ekta Kapoor’s favorite 18 year old Prachi Desai) has just seen her husband, whom she calls Mr. Walia for the entire length of the serial that I have followed, possibly shoot someone. The person with the revolver in his hand has his back to her and when he turns around and turns out to be Mr. Walia, the camera comes crashing down. Not only crashing down, it does about 15 different movements, ranging from left-right, right-left to south-west->south-east. Every jerk is emphasized by an absolutely blank look from Baani (no, she isn’t acting, that is exactly how she looks in every scene) and a whooshy music score. After about a minute of all the camera movements, the dialog starts. There’s disbelief, sindoor and bewafaai thrown in the picture. Mr. Walia tries hard to convince her he is innocent, but she refuses to believe him. And then, the twist. Mr. Walia tells his wife, ”Hilna Mat”. Turns out she has strategically placed herself over a time bomb. If she moves, the bomb explodes now, else it will explode in six minutes anyway. The bland faced heroine balks, then quizzes her husband about a secret, something that happened six years ago, that he never confessed. She says that while she is on her way up, at least she should go with that knowledge. Noble. Nobler Mr. Walia instead pushes her off in one swift motion steps on the plate-bomb, thus maintaining the pre-condition that the bad lighting on the set has to be focused on someone, also ensuring that the bomb does not explode. At least not for the next four minutes. I am on the edge of my sofa now. What next? Mr. Walia, who thinks that acting means blinking in slow motion, then starts a monologue. “I want to tell you what happened six years ago. I want to get it off my chest while I have …. (then stares down) three minutes left”. By now, I am ready to throw the pillow on the TV. What happened next made me throw myself at the TV. A song started. A full fledged song. From Kalyug “Jiya dhadak dhadak jaye”. For God’s sake Mr. Walia, you have only .. (I looked at MY watch) three minutes left before today’s episode ends. But the song continues. The wind keeps blowing, the camera moves in slow motion focusing on the two actors. Sanguine, relaxed, they have obviously forgotten that they have limited time, a six-year old secret to share and a bomb to diffuse. And then, the song ends. Mr. Walia looks like he is going to talk. My salvation is near. He will tell his secret and my life can go on. And he starts:”Bani”. And the credits roll. Someone died that evening. It was probably me.

Postscript: I never found out the secret or how Mr. Walia escaped the bomb. I led my hollow existence, away from the vagaries and struggles of their lives. But I have caught up a few episodes later. I would like to reassure everyone that they are safe and sound, and apparently divorcing each other. Kasamh Se, no life without desi TV. I can barely thank Ekta Kapoor for the great television she brings into our lives. Come to think of it, I don’t even see her flagship serials on Star TV. Ekta ji, well done. Just make sure Mr. Walia spills the beans sometime. Even if the serial jumps thirty years.