Archive for February, 2012


Film Review: ? (Question Mark)

Engaging from start to end, ? is the most enjoyable ‘found footage’ movie I’ve had the pleasure of watching. That it doesn’t frighten a lot is the only thing that keeps it from being perfect. Seven collegians drive to a few days stay in an isolated house in a forest. They’re having fun getting started on their short film, a project they’re all enthusiastic about. The play a game of darkroom, and that’s when the movie goes dark, and that’s all you’ll get of the story from this review.

The acting by these youths – most of them debutantes – is amazing. These youngsters act so naturally that it makes you want to kill all the Bollywood actors who ham their way through films or make crores of rupees without even making an effort to act. The dialogues are fantastic – it’s all very real; these kids are how you expect college kids to be: there’s wit without a shred of lameness, banter that would come naturally to anyone their age, albeit without the nonsense you hear from a lot of kids (the dozen kids who were talking incessantly throughout the film thought this was a shit movie, by the way).

?,  or Question Mark, deftly wipes out everything you expect from found-footage movies; it keeps itself free of the clichés that no such film has been able to avoid. The kids have a discussion about why they shouldn’t leave the house and the location after realizing there’s a supernatural force at work there; and they, unlike the morons in every other horror movie I’ve seen, use their minds and decide to sleep in the same room instead of getting scattered.

That they all get screwed anyway is beside the point; the point is that ? (or Question Mark) doesn’t use scary faces to scare, evil laughter to spook, or background music to create tension, and the scenes of demonic possession have been handled very well. There’s no flying-in-the-air or growling.

Even though it falls short on scares, I’ll tell you that ? (Question Mark) is the most flawless, and by far the most enjoyable horror flick I’ve seen. The acting by all those kids, their banter exchange, the direction by Yash Allison (“Footage compiled by Yash Allison,” the poster says.) is an hour and a half of lessons other filmmakers should learn. If only it was higher on scares, the film would have been a horror masterpiece, but to its credit, ?/Question Mark is an expertly crafted horror movie anyway.

RATING: 3.5/5

MORE HORROR MOVIE REVIEWS: Ghost | Phoonk 2 | Haunted | Paranormal Activity 3 | Prince Of Darkness


Sula Vineyards, Nashik

Last December, a few days before I quit drinking alcohol, we went to Nashik, and this is where we stopped.

The gates were wide open and we went right in…

… and slowed down even more when we saw this familiar structure.

As you can see, this is where the wines are bottled.

And here’s another pic. Get a load of this!

What you see here is the room in which they display Sula’s finest wines and merchandise.

A pretty neat bar, eh?

And this is the main stuff.

Some cold cuts to go with the red wine…

…and different types of cheese to taste with the white wine. Cheeses.

A bottle of wine can get a man to pose with such objects…

…and can reunite some with their childhood friends.

And this is the best thing about drinking at Sula Vineyards: the view!


Music Review: Providence – Vanguard

It’s baffling as to why a band would release an album at the fag end of a year; the last week of any year is the time nobody takes anything seriously because everybody wants to party. When the year turns new, the offering gets lumped with ‘last year’s releases’ and isn’t fresh anymore. Vanguard, as a result, has got hardly any exposure despite being an impressive debut from Providence.

Attitude is the name of the game here; the music has a no-nonsense approach which is maintained throughout, and the band sounds pissed-off enough to assault anyone in sight. To my relief, the lyrics seem to deal with interpersonal conflict and the turmoil within; an outpouring of grief and anger in the form of broken or incomplete sentences roared with spite and despair. It’ll be great if the band continues and grows with this style, because socially-relevant nonsense goes straight to the recycle bin, and even if the band is at any point going anti-establishment, the vagueness of it all works in their favour. In any case, the singing is stern as hell, can’t be taken lightly and is powered ably by the music.

Providence don’t seem to care about sounding overly technical or intricate and throw four interesting groove-packed songs and an instrumental that connects instantly and ends too soon. The songs – all of them – hit high points and end before the grooves get familiar, thus keeping Vanguard fresh as new even after several plays.

Vanguard doesn’t come across as an attempt to be profound; it seeks to engage the listener with short, rapid bursts of one-dimensional rage, and that’s the fun of it: a band no longer able to withhold their stronger emotions found at their starting point. The songwriting is bound to get more elaborate and sophisticated with future releases; here’s hoping Providence remain as stoic with their streamlined hate.

Live Report: Deathfest 2 | Live Report: Metal Bajaao | Interview: Riju Dasgupta | Feature: Albatross


Kudle Beach, Gokarna

Just a not-so-short walk away from Om Beach is the popular Kudle Beach. Popular because it is not elitist like Om Beach, and that you can tell from its welcoming vibe. It’s very easy to get accommodation at Kudle Beach; the lodge owners aren’t stuck-up assholes who rent places out only to foreigners; they’re as happy to have Indians around. Compared to Om Beach, there are more shacks at Kudle Beach, but that doesn’t mean the food is better – it just means that you have more options. Most of the food served at the shacks is mediocre, and you should stick to vegetarian fare if you’re there off season. Like Om Beach, Kudle Beach can be reached by climbing down boulders; it’s why you don’t see old weak people at these two Gokarna beaches – they either can’t get to them, or they can’t get out.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Om Beach

Namaste Guest House

The Best Meal I Had In Gokarna

A Warning For People Traveling From Hampi To Gokarna


Music Review: Swallow The Sun – Emerald Forest And The Blackbird (2012)

Emerald Forest And The Blackbird will help the listener understand that it is futile expecting Swallow The Sun to make any changes in their sound or style of song-writing. And why should the band deviate from the formula that won them their own place in doom metal? With Emerald Forest And The Blackbird, the death/doom band continues its spree of making dark, beautiful music that clicks with its fans. Swallow The Sun repeat themselves again, crafting yet another piece of music dripping with melancholy. It’s one big sound – a depressive cloud in front of you; not as deep or saddening as their debut, but captivating nevertheless, and the band might as well call it a continuation you might as well accept that every album Swallow The Sun have made has been a continuation of The Morning Never Came. Just play them all in a row and marvel at the consistency, for were they to change their sound or style to anything else we’d refuse to recognize them.

MORE LINKS: Alcest is a silly band | Deathfest 2 at B69 | Metal Bajaao


Restaurant Review: Lucky Biryani & Kababs

It’s very sad that with popularity Lucky Biryani has forgotten what made it popular. Lucky Biryani & Kababs isn’t what it used to be, either in Bandra or elsewhere. The kababs are like the ones you’d find at any restaurant in Mumbai, the chicken and mutton dishes are strictly okay – there are so many of them that you have to try a different one every time before figuring out what you really like. The famous Lucky biryani is a greasy mess: oil drips from every grain of rice, and it’s obviously the oil that makes the biryani so loved. No complaints about the meat – the chicken and mutton are perfectly cooked, so even if you’re having the tandoori chicken (ordinary – you’ll find a better version of it at Bostan) or, if you’re not the kind to take risks, butter chicken (again – go to Bostan), at least, you’ll get to eat meat that has been cooked to perfection. Vegetarians should stay far away from Lucky Biryani & Kababs – there’s nothing for us here, not even decent dal fry, and by the waiters’ own admission, the vegetables are usually rotting because nobody orders vegetarian food at Lucky. The waiters will tell you that with glee, and strangely it’s the one thing they will say with confidence, because when it comes to making suggestions, they’re as clueless as you. The management also has little regard for hygiene: rats run free over and around the water kegs and on more than one occasion we’ve found the glasses they serve water in greasy and unwashed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Best Biryani In Mumbai | The Best Kababs In Mumbai | Tibetan Food | Unlimited Sushi


Om Beach, Gokarna

Om Beach considers itself an entity separate from Gokarna. Just a few kilometres away from Gokarna village, Om Beach is the retreat for those who want to relax on a tranquil beach with no disturbances. The shoreline has the shape of the ‘Om’ symbol, explaining how the beach got its name. A few lodges and shacks run across the stretch of this beach; cheap accommodation that’s not available to everyone: especially during season time, the shacks are let out to foreign tourists and not Indians. The food served at the shacks is similar to the rubbish you get at most places in Goa: poor attempts at Israeli and continental cuisine, pathetic pancakes and half-assed Indian fare. You have to climb down huge rocks to get to the beach, and it’s worth staying there if you want a peaceful beachside holiday.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kudle Beach

Namaste Guest House Review

The Best Meal I Had In Gokarna

A Warning For Tourists Traveling From Hampi To Gokarna

Member of The Internet Defense League

Follow Mehta Kya Kehta? on

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog Stats

  • 1,203,471 hits
February 2012
« Jan   Mar »

%d bloggers like this: