Sunday, April 29, 2012

Film Review: TEZZ


I was surprised that Priyadarshan had moved on from his mindless comedies to make this thriller. More so as it was good! 


Cast: Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani, Sameera Reddy, Kangna Ranaut, Mohanlal
Director: Priyadarshan
Editing: T.S. Suresh


I expected a lot of violence on seeing the promos and was not at all keen to see this movie. The two-star rating given by Mumbai Mirror was not very encouraging either. But as Venkat and Vinitha were keen to see the film, I tagged along.

THE STORY

The film begins with the British Court imparting the judgement that Aakash Rana (Ajay Devgn) is to be deported from England. Aakash is an engineer who is married to Nikita (Kangna Ranaut), a UK citizen. His papers are under process and the law insists that his earning his living in England is illegal. The film continues four years later when Aakash returns to England and meets Adil Khan (Zayed Khan) who used to work with him. Adil and his girlfriend Megha (Sameera Reddy) are also illegal immigrants. The three of them plot a scheme to make the British government pay them. They plant a bomb on a train and hold 500 passengers hostage while demanding 10 million Euros. Watch the film to see whether they succeed in their venture.

MY PERCEPTION

I was surprised that Priyadarshan had moved on from his mindless comedies to make this thriller. More so as it was good! The 2-hour film moved fast, the story weaving in and out of the past and the present. Special kudos to T.S. Suresh for his editing skills! That’s what made the film worth watching more than anything else.

Anil Kapoor plays Arjun Khanna who retires from the British Anti Terrorist Force. He is called back on duty the very next day to get to the bottom of the train bombing. While Anil Kapoor has won very few awards, the actor has consistently delivered and has made a conscious effort to reinvent himself at every point. He has one more feather in his cap with this film where he has done a very good job of chasing the crooks. He has a chunky role to boot. More than Ajay Devgn who plays the main character.

Ajay Devgn as Aakash Rana did not have much to do in the way of acting. To begin with, his role was not all that big with so many others taking up screen space. Then again, playing a serious man is not too difficult for the actor as he probably had to just be himself.

Zayed Khan was not too bad in that he has done his best which is not much.

Sameera Reddy has done a good job, her acting skills a bit more challenged than usual as she has very little to talk. Her eyes do quite a bit of speaking while she rides the bike. I have been reading a lot of hype about Sameera Reddy’s bike riding skills. If she has done the stunts herself, then I can only say ‘WOW’!

The first prize goes to Kangna Ranaut. While the actress had but a small role to play and comes in a handful of scenes, she has emoted absolutely beautifully. Considering that she did not know the ‘A’ of acting at the beginning of her career, Kangna Ranaut has come a very long way. Congratulations, Kangna! Way to go!

Boman Irani plays the role of Sanjay Raina, the Railway Control Officer. While it falls upon Sanjay's shoulders to ensure the safety of the train with 500 passengers on it, he is also a tense father who's young daughter is one of those on the train. Boman Irani is a versatile actor who has played many character roles. He has portrayed Sanjay Raina simply beautifully and definitely adds value to the film.

Tezz has not done all that well at the box office while most of the publications have given the film an ‘okay’ review. The trouble is that we all tend to compare actions films – Agent Vinod is another case in point – with Hollywood films. We also keep pointing out scenes from foreign films that are maybe similar and how it could have been done much better, etc. I don’t see the sense in that. Watch the film for what it is. It has been made very well and is quite an interesting watch with the actors playing their roles to a ‘T’.

VERDICT: It’s definitely worth a see if you like thrillers!

RATING: ***1/2 Snazzy (almost)

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sharing: A VISIT TO THE ONENESS TEMPLE


Oneness Temple (Mukti Mandap)

Sri Amma Bhagavan: Man cannot make it on his own; it has to be given to him 

The Oneness University was established by Sri Amma Bhagavan at Varadaiahpalem, Andhra Pradesh and they also have a centre at Nemam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The Oneness Temple is a marble wonder that was inaugurated by Sri Amma Bhagavan in April 2008 and is now the centre around which the university revolves.

The road within the Temple campus leading to the Mukti Mandap

The temple has been constructed on the instructions of Sri Bhagavan to help people attain Mukti or Enlightenment. For those who came in late, Amma & Bhagavan are the avatars for enlightenment. They have taken birth on this earth to give enlightenment to mankind and ring in the Sathya Yuga (Golden Age) on or before December 21, 2012.

The huge compound has many other buildings too - dining hall, a shop, offices, Dhyan Mandir and more

I recently went to the Oneness Temple to attend the Super Process. While I have attended a few courses offered by the Oneness University, they have been at Nemam, Varadaiahpalam Campus and at Sathyaloka in Karnataka. This was the first time I got an opportunity to attend a process at the Temple itself.


The Oneness Temple is considered the ‘womb of the Goddess’ and the whole process was a tremendous experience.

We had classes conducted by the Oneness Guides on Day One. Day Two started with an ‘Angapradakshinam’ – to roll with one’s body around the main praharam in the temple. We did this on the second floor. This was my first experience of doing Angapradakshinam. I have always wanted to do it at Tirupati and finally got my chance when I rolled around the Oneness Temple. It was a terrific experience and leads to an extreme level of cleansing in the system.

This stylish cab carts  senior citizens and physically challenged folk  around the campus. The people in the picture
waited with me to meet Namannji. We got a lift to the entrance to collect our luggage 

More classes were conducted within the Oneness Temple and it was a beautiful experience.

The time I liked best was when the course was completed on the third day and almost everyone had left the temple campus. A few of us were waiting for a meeting with the Oneness Guide Namannji.

I clicked this picture when I was inside the Temple. Yeah, the compound is huge set in 42 sq. km

The whole area was quiet and one could feel the tremendous peace in the campus. It was simply amazing and I was so happy to just sit there and absorb the atmosphere. A truly wonderful experience indeed!


The marble structure shimmers in the sunlight

Oneness Temple Location:


Mukti Mandap (Oneness Temple) 
Battallavallam, Chillamattur Post 
Chittoor District, 
Andhra Pradesh 517541
Phone: +91-8576276838 / 840/ 841


The Oneness Temple at night
Some guidelines (with updates as recent as July 2017):


1. The Oneness Temple is open from Tuesday to Sunday (Monday is holiday) and the darshan timings are 10 am to 1 pm in the morning and 4 pm to 5 pm in the evening. The public is allowed only during this time inside the temple as it is kept free for the many courses conducted there.
2. Free entry. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at a cost. It is better to buy the tokens in advance.
4. Public Transport Buses are available from Chennai and there is a bus-stop called Mukti Mandap right outside the temple.
5. The closest train station is Tada.
6. Auto-rickshaws are available to and from the station or places nearby but cost a bomb.
7. Tourist taxis from Chennai charge Rs. 3000 for a round-trip to the temple and four people can travel at one time.

This is Campus 2 at Varadaiahpalem where our dormitaries were. This is a half-hour journey from the Oneness Temple.
Three buses carted the lot of us to and from the Oneness Temple to Campus 2 on all three days. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sharing: JACK CANFIELD LIVE


Jack Canfield Live

Most of us have heard and/or read at least one book from the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. The Chicken Soup books have brought about a positive change in the lives of many around the world. I have a couple of them. When you feel a bit low, you just have to pick up the book, open at any page and read one or two stories. They are all short and sweet, well-narrated. I promise you that you cannot find a better ‘pick me up’ than this.

Raageshwari Loomba on stage

Jack Canfield is the Co-originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series and a Success Coach. Mr. Canfield has recently authored the book ‘The Success Principles-How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be’ and had come down to Mumbai for book-signing at Crossword Bookstore on April 11, 2012 and a workshop at Nehru Centre Auditorium on April 12, 2012.

Anand Chulani rocks!

I was quite surprised and delighted when my daughter told me that she had received some invites on behalf of her organization MDACS and asked me if I would like to go. Pop Singer and Bollywood Actor Raageshwari Loomba had sent them to her. I grabbed the chance and am I glad!

The programme was to begin at 5 pm and it finally did at 5.20 due to some glitches. Vikas opened the event apologizing for the delay and invited Raageshwari Loomba to say a few words. I was surprised to hear Ms. Loomba speak. She is so involved in positivity and spoke about her personal experience of undergoing a facial paralysis that almost put paid to her career about a decade ago. She spoke on how the Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul gave her a great boost and had gone a long way in helping her recover. I was amazed and impressed.

Then there was Anand Chulani, himself a celebrity, who took the stage to introduce Jack Canfield and also to set the tone for the evening. His interaction with the audience was simply superb and all of us were roaring with laughter within a few minutes.

Jack Canfield walked up on stage to a rousing welcome and his opening statement was, “It just shows that one needs to be careful that the man introducing one should not be more dynamic”, drawing more laughter from the crowd.

The dynamic Jack Canfield 

Coming from a middle-class background, Jack Canfield has used his own success principles to become a millionaire today. At 68, the Success Coach is a livewire who held the 500-odd audience enthralled with his workshop for almost 3 hours.

Jack Canfield took us through a brief introduction of the Success Principles that he has cited in his book and how they can help transform our lives. The lecture and demo was too interesting and as they had promised four hours, the programme went on till 10.20 pm.


SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WORKSHOP

Jack Canfield explained how to set goals – we should have a goal in mind, set a definite date and even a specific time to it. Write down the goal beginning with the assertion “I will…” and this works for the best.

Read this everyday and visualize the scene of already having achieved the goal. For example, if you want to make a lakh of rupees, visualize depositing the cheque in the bank in your name. If you want to win the first prize, visualize yourself standing on the podium receiving the winning cup.

Jack Canfield cutout at the entrance
Creating posters of yourself achieving something also helps. He spoke about a lady who wanted to become famous. She had photo-shopped her picture on the cover of the Time Magazine. You can create such pictures and display them in a place where you tend to see them every morning. Behind the bathroom door and on the front of your cupboard are some common places.

You wake up in the morning and see this poster and visualizing your goal is what comes to mind. Sit down and visualize for a few minutes to ensure that the universe gets the message.

Then comes action. Acting on your way to achieving the goal is very important. Just having a dream without working towards it, remains just a dream. For example, if you want to become a published author, write the book first.

Everyone watches three to four hours of TV per day. What Jack suggested was to cut down one hour of TV and use that time to meditate for 20 minutes, exercise for 20 minutes and read for 20 minutes. He suggests that all these be completed in the morning and not be postponed to late evening or night. Completing these three things in the morning keeps a person in ‘Breakthrough’ throughout the day and gives one, tremendous energy.

Running through your goals or visualizing them at night also helps a lot. Jack says that thinking positive thoughts at night or setting up a plan for the next day just before going to sleep sets the unconscious mind working on those things while we are asleep. This way, morning brings a number of solutions that are totally unexpected.

Another thing that really impressed me was the physical body’s responses to stimuli. Jack called one person from the audience and demonstrated the effect of certain suggestions on the body.

My body becomes strong and cannot be beaten

1. When I speak the truth
2. When I am positive and insist that ‘I can’
3. When I focus on my successes
4. When I receive support and appreciation from the people around me
5. When I focus on services to others

In a similar fashion, my body tends to become weak and I can be easily beaten

1. When I utter untruths
2. When I take a negative stand and insist that ‘I can’t’
3. When I focus on my failures
4. When I am a constant target of criticism and judgement
5. When I focus only on serving myself


Jack Canfield signs his books for the fans at Nehru Centre Auditorium

There was a break when Jack signed books for his eager fans and after that the second half was as interesting as the first.

Another highlight of the evening was the appearance of Jonty Rhodes, former South African cricketer who coaches the Mumbai Indians. He spoke for over 20 minutes on his experiences with using the Success Principles. 

Jonty Rhodes addresses the audience

While a few of the people left the auditorium as it was getting late, Vinitha and I managed to stay till the end.

A splendid evening indeed!

I plan to order Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles-How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be from flipkart this week. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Recipe: MAMBAZHAPPACHIDI (மாம்பழப்பச்சிடி)




Puthaandu Nal Vazhthukkal! (That's HAPPY NEW YEAR in Tamil)

The summer has started with a bang and with it comes along the king of fruits – mango. I simply love them and so does a huge part of the world population. Raw mangoes can be pickled in various ways. While eating a ripe mango all by itself is a treat in itself, this recipe of Mango Pachidi is simply yummy.
 
This is a traditional recipe from Tamil Nadu that is made on the Tamil New Year’s Day or Varusha Pirappu in mid-April. This year the Tamil New Year’s Day falls on April 13, 2012, that's today.

INGREDIENTS:

Ripe Mangoes – 1 kg (peeled and cut into cubes) (you can also use half-ripe mangoes if you like a slightly sour taste)
Jaggery – 200 gm
Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
Red Chillies – 2 (broken into 2-3 pieces each)
Salt – a small pinch
Water – 2 cups
Ghee – 1 tsp

*Alternate measurements – Mango cubes – 5 cups & Jaggery – 1 cup

METHOD:

1. Take a thick bottomed vessel or a saucepan and cook the mango cubes in the water along with a pinch of salt. The mango pieces should just turn soft before the gas is switched off. If you cook for too long, the whole mixture will turn into pulp and we don’t want that to happen.
2. Melt the jaggery in a few spoons of water and filter it for impurities.
3. Add the melted jaggery to the cooked mango and allow the mixture to boil together for 3-4 minutes before switching off the gas.
4. Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. Wait for it to crackle before adding the red chillies.
5. Add this to the mango jaggery mixture and mix well.

The super-delicious Mango Pachidi is ready to eat. Serve it hot or chilled, whichever way you like it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Recipe: AVIAL (அவியல்)


This is yet another traditional recipe from Tamil Nadu and I have seen my grandmother and mother making this 2-3 times in a year. This is a rich dish and as it used to be made only on rare occasions, I had always thought that it is difficult to make.

My sister Lakshmi de-mystified my beliefs and showed me how simple preparing Avial is. This is basically a mix of many vegetables (usually those grown in Tamil Nadu), coconut paste and beaten curd.

INGREDIENTS:

Note: Vegetables - try to cut them all in even sizes – 1” pieces. This ensures that the Avial is a treat to the eyes too.

Peel and cut the following:

1. Pumpkin (பூஷணிக்காய்) (सफ़ेद भोपला) – 250 gm
2. Yellow Pumpkin (பரங்கிக்காய்) (पीला भोपला) – 250 gm
3. Carrot (காரட்) (गाजर) – 1
4. Elephant foot Yam (சேனைகிழங்கு) (सुरन) – 200 gm
5. Green Bananas (வாழைக்காய்) (कच्चा केला) – 2 small
6. Yam (சேப்பங்கிழங்கு) (अर्भी) – 6 medium
7. Potato (உருளைகிழங்கு) (बटाटा) – 2 medium

Also add these:

1. Small Brinjal (சின்ன கத்தரிக்காய்) (छोटा बैंगन) – 2
2. Indian Bean Seeds (மொச்சை கொட்டை) (पोव्टा) – 200 gm

FOR THE GRAVY:

1. Green Chillies (பச்சை மிளகாய்) (हरी मिर्ची) – 6-8 (depending on how spicy you like your food)
2. Grated coconut (திருவிய தேங்காய்) (नारियल) – 1 large cup
3. Rice (அரிசி) (चावल) – 2 tsp

Avial with Tamarind Rice & Coconut Rice
OTHER INGREDIENTS:

1. Curd (தயிர்) (dahi) – 1 large cup
2. Coconut oil (தேங்காய் எண்ணெய்) (कोपरे का तेल) – 4 tbsp
3. Curry Leaves (கருவேப்பிலை) (कदिपत्ता) – a handful
4. Salt to taste (உப்பு தேவையான அளவு) (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)

METHOD:

1. Soak the rice in water for about half an hour.
2. Take a large thick bottomed vessel or saucepan and keep it on the gas.
3. Wash all the vegetables and add them to the pan. Sprinkle salt on it, add 2-3 glasses of water and cook it on a slow fire.
4. This might take a while. Stir from time to time making sure that the vegetables don’t get smashed. I am not too keen on pressure cooking the vegetables as they all get smashed beyond recognition.
5. Grind the three ingredients (green chillies, coconut and soaked rice) for the gravy after adding some water. This should be a smooth paste. Add this to the cooked vegetables and allow it to boil for 3-4 minutes.
6. Beat the curd in the mixer and add this also to the vegetables and cook for two more minutes.
7. Add coconut oil and curry leaves to the Avial and mix well before switching off the gas.

This super-duper mixed vegetable from Tamil Nadu called Avial tastes absolutely delicious along with Tamarind Rice and Coconut Rice. It tastes fabulous with Ven Pongal too. Avial can also be used as a side dish with rotis or puris.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Customer is King: DELL INDIA PVT. LTD

The PC that we ordered from www.dell.co.in

This is one more grand experience of ordering stuff on the net. This time, I needed to buy a computer. Vignesh and I wanted to purchase a desktop and went to check things out at Chroma and Vijay Sales outlets at Sion. We were not too happy with the choices on offer.

Vignesh spoke with a friend of his and I talked to my nephew Kushal at Chennai. That’s when we decided to check out www.dell.co.in.

On checking out the website, we realized that we could order a computer with different permutations and combinations, just the way we want. Every time we added or deleted a part, we could see the exact cost of that on the website itself.

Finally, we put together (mostly Vignesh) the right combo for a desktop computer that we were keen to buy.

While placing the order, we took the option of a salesman contacting us before confirming the order. I wanted to talk to someone at Dell before going ahead with the payment.

I got a call within a couple of hours and the salesman explained to me how we could go about placing the order. To begin with, he confirmed that we had correctly selected all the options that we wanted. Then, he guided me as to how to go about the payment. Here, they have the option of paying by credit card or transferring money to their account. I was prepared to go with the second option. The salesman told me that the product would be delivered in 8 working days after receiving the payment.

Within the next hour, I got an email with details for the money transfer. The email also confirmed the order on receipt of the payment.

I made the payment on a Monday and sent the electronic transfer details to the salesman. Within a few hours, I got an email confirming our order. It also mentioned that the delivery will happen in 15 days. I got quite irritated and called the salesman about it.

He explained to me that the desktop will be delivered within 8 working days – latest by the next Thursday. They don’t give that in writing as they give themselves that extra bandwidth to cover all contingencies. I was not too impressed but as there was no choice, I decided to wait and watch.

In the meanwhile, Vignesh scouted around at a couple of shops to find out costs. He concluded that we were paying Rs. 4000-5000 less by purchasing directly from www.dell.co.in. This was after VAT and service charges for the engineer. I was too happy to hear that!

Come Monday morning – the 5th working day – I was thrilled to get a call from Blue Dart to say that our computer was being delivered in an hour’s time. I called Dell to inform them about this and requested that they send their engineer to fix the machine.

The engineer gave us an appointment for 10.30 am on Tuesday morning. He arrived early for the appointment at 10 am and fixed up the computer within an hour. Impressive time-keeping! This will never fail.

Thank you www.dell.co.in - I CALL THAT SUPER SERVICE!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Recipe: CAULI FLOWER METHI SABZI



I learned to make this yummy sabzi from my friend Pooja. I understand that this is a Sindhi recipe. Pooja had taught me to add potatoes to this mix. But I realized that all of us in my family prefer this side dish without potatoes. So, you have a choice there.

INGREDIENTS:

Cauli-flower – 1 kg (cut into flowerets)
Methi greens – 1 bunch (remove the stalks and chop the leaves fine)
Tomatoes – 2 (medium sized – chopped fine)
Green chillies – 3 (chopped fine)
Dhania Powder – 1 tsp
Haldi Powder – ¼ tsp
Mirchi Powder – ¼ tsp
Cooking oil – 3 tbsp
Salt to taste

METHOD:

1. Take a non-stick saucepan and heat the oil in it. Add the cauli-flower to it and shallow fry it till the vegetable is partly cooked. It might turn a little brown in parts and that’s normal. Do not close the pan. The cauli-flower will turn soggy if you keep it covered.
2. Add the chopped methi greens, tomatoes and green chillies to the partly cooked cauli-flower and mix well. The sabzi will let out some water.
3. Now add the dhania powder, haldi powder, mirchi powder and salt. Mix the lot, now cover the saucepan with a lid.
4. Keep stirring from time to time and cook till the water gets absorbed.

The fragrant and delicious cauli-flower methi sabzi is ready to eat and can be had with hot rotis or puris.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Customer is King: WWW.FLIPKART.COM

I ordered these books from www.flipkart.com

Well, this is a new venture as you can see. I felt that I have to write about my experiences with a couple of websites that I dealt with in the recent past.

www.flipkart.com brings to mind ‘books’. Actually, you can order a variety of items from this website – books, CDs, electronics, home appliances, etc. They accept online payment with credit cards, cash on delivery or even credit card payment on delivery. One can order everything by phone or place an order online.

Crossword Bookstore used to be my favourite place to purchase books. But, later, I got introduced to www.flipkart.com by a colleague who casually mentioned how she ordered regularly from them.

I have had two experiences while purchasing books from flipkart. I check out the website to find out whether the books I need are available, pick the phone and call them. Their sales people are totally friendly and extremely helpful.

The first time, I placed an order for two books and was told that they will be delivered within 3-4 days. I was amazed when I received my order in just 16 hours – beautifully packaged, along with a bill and at a terrific discount of 45%. Incredible, isn’t that?

How can they afford the discount? Well, I concluded that they don’t need to spend on overheads such as a showroom for the books and display cases, etc. For whatever reason, this works for me perfectly.

The second time I placed the order, the salesman apologized for their system being down, took my mobile number and promised to call me back in a couple of hours. He called me within the hour. This time I ordered four books with a promise of delivery in 3-4 days’ time. I got two consignments as the books were available at different warehouses, I think. Both deliveries happened within two days.

I like someone who sticks to the schedule promised. Delivery beforehand is simply superb! I am impressed!

I have had a bad experience when my credit card was misused by someone on the internet and hence a mite wary of swiping mine online. As flipkart gives their customers an option of paying cash on delivery, it suits me just perfectly.

Great work, www.flipkart.com - THUMBS UP ALL THE WAY!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Film Review: KAHAANI



One more feather in Vidya Balan's cap!

Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Saswata Chatterjee, Indraneil Sengupta, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Director: Sujoy Ghosh

The film was released on March 9 and I got to watch it only on April 1. It was more out of choice. In fact, Venkat had already seen it and came along with me to watch it a second time. I was rather reluctant believing that the film may be violent. But the call of Vidya Balan finally won me over and I went to watch it. Am I glad!

THE STORY:

A bio-chemical weapon is used to wipe out all the travelers in one compartment of a Kolkata Metro. The police are unable to trace the terrorists responsible for this.

Two years later, a very pregnant Vidya Venkatesan Bagchi (Vidya Balan) arrives in Kolkata from London. She directly goes to the police station to lodge a complaint about her missing husband Arnab Bagchi (Indraneil Sengupta). Arnab had arrived in Kolkata a couple of months ago and had been in touch with his wife for a few days before he stopped calling. After that, he had gone missing – it seems without a trace, as Vidya finds out.

Young Police Officer Satyoki Sinha aka Rana (Parambrata Chattopadhyay) helps her a lot as he feels sorry for the pregnant woman with a missing husband. Vidya goes to the company Arnab had been contracted to work for and later to the hotel he had been staying in. She draws a blank at every point. It seems that Arnab had never been in Kolkata. But he had arrived there and spoken to her many times over the phone. Are things as they should be? Where is Arnab? Is he alive or dead?

MY TAKE ON IT:

Better late than never, I thought as I watched this thriller. Vidya Balan has done an excellent job of playing the pregnant lady in search of her missing husband. Then, giving a great performance is a regular habit with Vidya. Kudos yet again!

Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Rana has done an equally good job as he has the next biggest role to play in the film. Congratulations!

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the rude Intelligence Bureau Agent Khan and Saswata Chatterjee as the innocent faced paid assassin Bob Biswas were both too good.

The film had a great story, excellent script with a perfect director at the helm. Sujoy Ghosh has reeled out a superb film that keeps you hooked till the end. And over and above, the movie was less than a couple of hours.

Amitabh Bachchan croons a very cute song in the film that fits in very well – in between and as the credits roll. It sounds wonderful!

The only thing that rankled was the idea of a fully pregnant woman – at least 8 months pregnant – undergoing those gymnastics that Vidya did. That just cannot be possible. If a real woman had done what the character did in the film, she would have delivered on the roadside. And Vidya does spend a couple of weeks there that take her further into her pregnancy. I am taking away half-a-star for this reason.

VERDICT: Don’t miss the film.

RATING: ****1/2 Super (almost)

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Official website: www.kahaanithefilm.com

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recipe: Milagai Podi (மிளகாய் பொடி)



This is a spicy chutney powder that is eaten with idli and dosa. I simply love to have it with even rotis and bread toast. You need to add til oil to it while serving.

Ingredients:

1. Mustard Seeds (கடுகு) (राइ) - 1/4 cup
2. White Sesame Seeds (வெள்ளை எள்ளு) (सफ़ेद तिल) - 1/2 cup
3. Channa Dal (கடலை பருப்பு) (चन्ना दाल) - 1 cup
4. Urad Dal (உளுத்தம்பருப்பு) (उरद दाल) - 1 cup
5. Chutni Dal (பொட்டுகடலை) (चुतनी दाल) - 1 cup (optional)
6. Groundnuts (வேர்கடலை) (शेंग्दाना) - 1 cup (optional)
7. Asafoetida (பெருங்காயப்பொடி) (हिंग) - 2 tbsp
8. Jaggery (வெல்லம்) (गुर) - 1/2 cup
9. Salt to taste
10. Til Oil (நல்லெண்ணெய்) (तिल का तेल) - 5 tsp
11. Red Chillies (வெத்த மிளகாய்) (लाल मिर्ची) - 150 gm (if very spicy, take less)

Method:

1. Take a saucepan and roast the mustard seeds and sesame seeds separately till they crackle and keep aside in a steel bowl.

2. Add one tsp oil each time and roast the dals one by one till golden brown in colour. Keep adding these to the bowl.

3. Take the last spoon of oil and roast the red chillies in it. Make sure that they don't turn too dark or black. This will spoil the colour of the chutney.

4. Allow all of these to cool down before coarse grinding in the mixer.

5. Add the jaggery, asafoetida and salt in between and grind those too.

6. Mix everything thoroughly before storing in an air-tight container after the mixture cools down.

The red chutney powder is ready for use and can be stored for about a couple of months. Use it along with til oil when you serve idlis or dosas. Tastes absolutely yummy!