Star Wars – The Last Jedi

After a really long wait – I got to finally see the Last Jedi at the Forum Value Mall – in 3D.  I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the movie.

A few scenes that stood out were:

a. Rey discovering the Jedi tree and the Jedi library on her own – on the island of Ahch To and Luke asking her if she knew this place.  The place sounded like her home that she’d always known.  This is like the heart of the “Light side” of the force.


b. Rey discovering the cave on the same island of Ahch To – when she is in deep meditation.  It is like the “Dark side” of the force calling her with equal strength.  Also despite Luke asking her to resist – she goes over to the cave and discovers it for herself “without any sense of fear”.



c. Being able to communicate with Kylo Ren telepathically and actually “connect” with him.  This she is later told by Snoke that he is the one who made it happen.  Luke later interrupts the ‘connect’ between Kylo Ren and Rey and destroys Rey’s residence in the process.   This form of telepathic connect is a first for the Star Wars.

d. This was  a brilliant scene – where Kylo Ren deceptively kills Snoke by managing to block his thoughts from Snoke and redirect the blazer to pierce Snoke remotely.   Another aspect of the same scene was the sheer power of Snoke to overcome Rey’s resistance to lift and hold her.

e. The part when Luke is able to force project himself and mislead Kylo Ren and later giving up his body while meditating on the island of Ahch To.

f. When Luke tries to destroy the Jedi tree hesitatingly – but is helped to do it by Yoda.  Luke later tries to protect the Jedi texts – only to be told by Yoda that there is nothing in those books that Rey does not know already.


g. Luke and Snoke who are both more powerful than Rey and Ren – die!!! Rey outsmarts Ren to rescue the last remnants of the resistance.

h. The leadership of admiral Holdo to destroy the First Order ship by doing a kamikaze on them.

There were many things that were new in this movie.  Many aspects of the movie that were fresh aspects of the Force that were never known.  Force projections, telepathic connections etc.  Overall the movie was a great watch.


The difference between Pulav, Biryani and Fried Rice

I have always known that the three were different.  But have never been able to articulate what ‘exactly’ the difference is.  That was until I stumbled on this article.  Here goes:


Lucknowi biryani, Yakhni pulao, veg fried rice–we love these dishes, and every other variant of their larger categories. But the one thing every foodie needs to keep in mind is that they are not the same.

Yes, they look similar. On occasion, the non-discerning ones among you might even assume they taste similar. But, the fact remains unchanged. Biryani, pulao, and fried rice are not interchangeable categories of rice dishes.

Many restaurants are as confused as the home cooks out there who assume making a biryani, a pulao and a fried rice dish entail the very same things. You should know the difference–because if you are in fact interchanging them, you are missing out on the authentic taste of all of these rice dishes. There are five major differences that you should be aware of.

1. Origins

Biryanis and pulaos are popular dishes in countries from India to Turkey. The Turkish pilaf is barely any different from the Indian versions. Biryani’s main variants were invented by the Mughals and Nawabs of the subcontinent–which is why we have different recipes from Lucknow, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Fried rice is basically a Chinese dish, and it’s made with predominant Chinese flavours.

2. Rice Preparation

Biryani is made using the draining method of cooking–which basically means the rice is par-boiled in water, and then drained, dried and used to layer up. Pulao is made through the absorption method, so the amount of water or stock is completely absorbed by the rice and vegetables in the dish. Fried rice is cooked with pre-cooked rice, and the method of cooking the rice doesn’t matter much.

3. Layering

Biryani is always prepared in layers, with at least one layer dedicated to meat and another one for fried onions. The ingredients are half-cooked (quite like the rice) separately, then layered. In Pulaos, the veggies, meat and rice are sauteed together, and then cooked with water or stock. The ingredients in a fried rice are never layered. The veggies are fried first, and pre-cooked rice is added later.

4. Spices

Biryanis are chock full of aromatic spices, with everything from whole cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms to saffron. Pulao is much less heavy on the spices, and usually the white on the rice isn’t hued with any other colouring. Fried rice is made with Chinese spices and ingredients like ajinomoto and soy sauce.

5. Heat

Biryani is always cooked for hours on a low flame. The utensil–whether made of terracotta, cast iron or copper–is always sealed to preserve the aroma of the dish. Pulao is cooked faster, on medium to high flame. Fried rice is always cooked on a high flame.

It’s because of all these differences that biryani, pulao and fried rice each have a distinct taste. If you don’t know the difference, you are actually being cheated out of enjoying all three as they’re meant to be. So it’s high time you know how to identify a proper biryani, pulao and a fried rice.


Star Trek – Beyond

Watched this movie at the PVR multiplex in Phoenix Market City.  I got an offer on my credit card for two free movie tickets.

The movie is a good watch.  As usual its a good versus evil, with technology, USS spaceships, romance, bromance, fights and the works.

A thorough entertainer.  For those of you who are used to the Star Trek franchise – go for it.

Another highlight of watching this movie were the seats.  The seats were special remote controlled seats which had a complete reclining option with seat rest et al.  It was almost like we were sleeping on a couch and watching the movie.


Superb Watch – Godhi Banna Saadharana Maykattu

I would give this movie ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ rating 🙂

The acting of Anant Nag is brilliant.  All other actors have done equally well.  Vashishta N. Simha has done a stellar role as a ‘villain with a heart’.

The screenplay, cinematography and music are all very good.  The storyline and script are equally brilliant.  For a newbie director like Hemanth M. Rao – he has done an excellent job on this movie.  All of the actors have done well and the entire team have seamlessly delivered a great movie.

I am not surprised that Prakash Rai has brought the production rights for the remake of this movie in Telugu and Tamil.

I saw this movie in PVR Orion multiplex with my mom and wife.  I wish my dad had come along!!! The theatre was full of people and most had got their aged and old parents along to see the movie.

The songs were very lilting – especially “E Sanjeh”.  The other song “Kavaludaari ….Ayomaya” keeps haunting you for quite some time.

I actually started crying at the very end of the movie where the protagonists son proposes to his caretaker.  My wife kept asking me – what specific aspect of that scene moved me.

The entire movie is a brilliant watch.  Please don’t miss it for anything.  I would rate this movie as being number 1, followed by Thithi and then U Turn.  Haven’t seen Karva yet to comment.  My wife has asked me to put a lid on watching movies for sometime – as she thinks I’m overdoing things 😉

I just want to ride this surge of good movies that are making waves!!!

Read this review also


U Turn – Slick Entertaining Thriller

Looks like the Kannada movie bug has bit me hard.  The month of June saw me see Thithi and U Turn on two consecutive weekends.  Thithi was in the Maayajaal multiplex in Chennai while U Turn was in the PVR Orion multiplex in Bangalore.

The screenplay of this movie is very good, besides the acting and cinematography.  It was a thorough entertainer.

The introduction of the supernatural element was a dud though (atleast I didn’t expect a thriller genre to be mixed with a supernatural genre).  But I hear that its the current trend to experiment with both genres in the same movie.

When I saw the Malayalam movie “Memories ” – it was an outright thriller – but U Turn is a supernatural thriller.  On the genre count – I found Memories better.

But on all other counts – both the movies (U Turn and Memories) were equally good and well taken.  I enjoyed it a lot.

Besides it very good to see new talent getting a forum to be recognized.  Almost all actors (except the Rangitaranga actress) are new here.  A few a soap actors (the cops) also share screen presence.

Overall I would rate it at 4.5 stars.

Next on my list are “Godhi Banna Saadharana Mai Kattu” and “Karva”.  This would complete my list.

It is such a pleasure to see movies with a fresh storyline – away from the romance, songs, dances and fights.

Thithi – an excellent watch

I saw this movie in the Maayajaal multiplex in Chennai!!!! This is the second time I’m watching a Kannada movie in Chennai.  The last one was Mungaru Maleh.

I saw Thithi with my wife and we both thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  The rural Kannada language used in the movie, the abuses, the dark comedy that comes through in the movie and how beautifully it has all been woven together – really made it an excellent watch.  The movie is layered and reflects (amongst other things) how each generation looks at things differently and prioritizes aspects of life the way it wants to.  It also shows traits of individuals – which goes beyond the generational barrier.  All four generations have been given equal importance.  There are no heroes here.

It was also a pleasant surprise to read about Century Gowda getting limelight on the streets of Manhattan



Aswathy Gopalakrishnan has composed this well written review of this movie here



Premam and Memories : The avalanche of good movies

Getting into movie watching mode again after almost 7 years.  I’ve started with Premam and Memories …………two good Malyalam movies.  I don’t understand the language and have to entirely rely on sub-titles.


Premam is really light, breezy and a feel good movie whereas Memories is a good thriller.  The screenplay of Memories is awesome.  The photography in Premam is brilliant.  Both movies are fresh.


Next on my bucket list are Tithi, U-Turn, Godhi Banna Sadharana Maykattu, Karvva, Rangi Taranga and “… Gayyaligalu” ….six good Kannada movies.