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A Calendar for 2012: Ready, Set, Go!

With love from my dear mother-in-law in Australia. Another “show” that must go on!


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Magic Bars: Another Way to Create Magical Goodness


Thanks, DV!

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Making Desi-Ghee: A Most Auspicious Way to Close Out the Old and Usher in the New


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Rockstar, 2011

A promising first-half of the movie, Rockstar very rapidly nosedives to a confused and aimless second half of the movie.  You’re rocked just long enough to know that you’re almost dozing off to the drone of the rock-like beat in the many dargahs and mandirs that Jordan, the rockstar, finds himself in, on and off.  Which might actually be the more innovative parts of the film considering the rest of it is a haphazard attempt at portraying the making of a rockstar along with a young woman who doesn’t know what exactly she’s looking for. 

Which again, is not the worst thing ever, except for the fact that all those repeated flashbacks and flashforwards tend to get a little monotonous.  But then, you soon realize that the end is near, and horror of horrors, the grand culmination is an Erich Segal-style Love Story ending!

So, what are the highpoints, you ask?  Hands down, the cinematography.  Great shots of Old and New Delhi, and breathtaking panoramic and closeup views of the city of Prague.  Also, the script notwithstanding, the acting of the two friends and lovers was quite good, not to mention that they’re both easy on the eyes, especially the girl who could pass for Jennifer Garner’s twin, by the way.  The whole Kashmiri motif in the decor and the clothes is also very refreshing.

And the most entertaining character of the movie is Mr. Rockstar’s agent:  the typical Delhi bhaisaab/uncle who has reams of advice on life and love, and is actually quite instrumental in allowing for our hero to fall in love, if only for the explicit purpose of experiencing a broken heart– which is the quintessential requirement to becoming an authentic artist, it seems.  Pain, you see, is the one thing you need in order to write, to sing, to give, to be!

The musical score, surprisingly, was mediocre at best, even if it is the mighty A.R. Rahman at the helm of that enterprise.  I honestly cannot recall a single bar of any of the half-dozen songs liberally interspersed throughout, and neither is there a signature theme tune, the kind that would instantly recall a face or a scene. 

Oh, well.  You rock some, and others not so much, I suppose.  But to end on a somewhat higher note, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw these two– Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri–in more Bollywood offerings in the new year.  2012, bring it!


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On This Day: December 31

Updated December 30, 2011, 1:28 pm

NYT Front Page

On Dec. 31, 1946, President Harry S. Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

Go to article »

On Dec. 31, 1869, Henri Matisse, one of the foremost painters of 20th century French art, was born. Following his death on Nov. 3, 1954, his obituary appeared in The Times.

Go to obituary » | Other birthdays »


On This Date

By The Associated Press
1857 Britain’s Queen Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada.
1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.
1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.
1974 Private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.
1985 Rock singer Rick Nelson, 45, and six other people were killed when fire broke out aboard a DC-3 that was taking the group to a New Year’s Eve performance in Dallas.
1993 Entertainer Barbra Streisand performed her first paid concert in 22 years, singing to a sellout crowd at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
1997 Michael Kennedy, 39-year-old son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain in Colorado.
2006 The death toll for Americans killed in the Iraq war reached 3,000.

Current Birthdays

By The Associated Press
Ben Kingsley, Actor

Actor Ben Kingsley turns 68 years old today.

AP Photo/Peter Kramer

Anthony Hopkins, Actor

Actor Anthony Hopkins turns 74 years old today.

AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

1942 Andy Summers, Rock musician (The Police), turns 69
1944 Taylor Hackford, Director, producer, turns 67
1946 Diane Von Furstenberg, Fashion designer, turns 65
1947 Burton Cummings, Rock musician (The Guess Who), turns 64
1947 Tim Matheson, Actor (“Animal House,” “The West Wing”), turns 64
1948 Donna Summer, Singer, turns 63
1958 Bebe Neuwirth, Actress (“Cheers”), turns 53
1959 Val Kilmer, Actor, turns 52
1959 Paul Westerberg, Rock singer (The Replacements), turns 52


Historic Birthdays

Henri Matisse 12/31/1869 – 11/3/1954 French painter. Go to obituary »
88 Jules Styne 12/31/1905 – 9/20/1994
American songwriter
88 Nathan Milstein 12/31/1903 – 12/21/1992
Russian-born American violinist
87 Elizabeth Arden 12/31/1878 – 10/18/1966
Canadian-born American cosmetic executive
78 Ben Jones 12/31/1882 – 6/13/1961
American racehorse trainer
78 George C. Marshall 12/31/1880 – 10/16/1959
U.S. Army general
86 Robert Aitken 12/31/1864 – 10/29/1951
American astronomer
66 Charles Cornwallis 12/31/1738 – 10/5/1805
English soldier and statesman
65 Jacques Cartier 12/31/1491 – 9/1/1557
French explorer



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Mausam, 2011

Mausam, meaning season in Hindi is not a story of one season but several seasons that span several years over several continents.  Inordinately long, and frequently tangential, this is a story that could have been more than what it is:  a very long movie.  It could have been thoughtful without becoming tedious; it could have been striking without becoming pointless in parts; and it could have been memorable if it were not for the very predictability that it so doggedly tries to move away from. 

Oh well, it could have been all that and a basket of laundry, but alas, it is only a mediocre telling of an age-old love story that germinates in a small village in Punjab, and has every obstacle thrown at it to prevent it from blooming– until at long last, the fates allow for a permanent union.  Which is all fine and dandy, but it is the way in which the journey to that happy destination takes such a long and winding road– much of it in the most formulaic fashion– that one wishes to just hurry up and get it over with!

The highlight of the movie is the cinematography:  pristine landscapes in lush Punjab capture the essence of village-life in the breadbasket of the northern plains of India, and later on, the Scottish highlands and Swiss Alps look positively breathtaking as our hero and heroine whiz past the continent on the Euro-Rail.  The downside to the movie– other than the few things noted already– is the newcomer Sonam Kapoor in her debutante role.  Perhaps she is too young, or perhaps she was miscast into this role, but there is absolutely no chemistry between herself and Shahid Kapoor (no relation to each other).  Speaking of whom, Mr. Kapoor looked extremely suave and owned the Indian Air Force fighter pilot uniform that he donned for the better part of the movie.

The bottom line is that this could be viewed as a “time-pass” if you have the time to spare.  Otherwise, you might feel just a bit disappointed at the end of the three-plus hours you will have invested into it! 


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Noodles & Co.: Great for A Late and Light Lunch