Friday, September 15, 2006

Around Florida in 1000 Dollars - Part III

Kraken and all done, we decided to try out some water rides and for that we needed to be in something other than jeans for sure. But the chances of getting things going the right way were almost equal to chances of survival in deep space(~0.0017% to be more precise! that's a figure I picked up watching a conspiracy theory on Landing on the Moon yesterday).

So this is what followed - we booked two lockers, locked our jeans in and put on the shorts. The lazy boys soon realised that the shorts were smelling awfully bad since they were not allowed to dry after our Miami beach trip. Abhishek and Mohit were the worst sufferers. So it was decided that the rest of us were going to shield them from twiching noses around. Abhinav, Ratul and I took to shielding Mohit and Faruk and Sushant took up the task of shielding Abhishek.

The ploy didn't work much. We could shield them but not the stench. Mohit looked for secluded places to avoid coming in contact with people who were in any case avoiding him while Abhishek did something more innovative.

A young kid standing next to Abhishek and desparately trying to survive the stench.
Abhishek(to the kid):
Do you know where this stench is coming from?
No, but its awful

Yeah, its killing me. Is that your Dad?
No way!

Then it must be the whale in the park. You know whales smell real bad.
Kid(thinking): Buddy is that whale in your pocket?? Because I sense it coming from there.

Thank God! the kid was not from India or else he sure must have thought that. This poor kid took to believing that whales do smell real bad!

It was now that things started getting worse. The 24' 10'' tall Sushant with his giant strides leapt across places while we struggled to keep pace. Then Faruk was lost clicking nude pictures of the Seals and Walruses, and Abhishek followed suit. The rest of us came back to the locker room and decided to take the Islands of Atlantis ride. Little did Mohit know that his sexy tricolored swimming trunks will look totally out of place there. He got into those and then we waited for Abhishek to join. But the next 5 minutes were hysterical. People started staring at the 'underpant' guy. It was almost as if he was a superman! Some felt that he was streaking while others thought that it was some theme park entertainment item. They cheered and Mohit got a bit conscious. He wanted to get into his jeans but lo..the keys were with Faruk and he was lost!

The underpant guy braved the public and went for the ride. Thankfully his trauma ended as soon as we got back from the ride and we managed the keys to the locker. But this was one part of the trip that I just can't forget(more so because I was not at the receiving end!)

Just sample these reactions when people saw him:
Old woman: Oooowaaaa....ooooo
Fat man: Ha ha ha ha..look at him
Small kid:Look mama, the man in the underpants!
A Namibian national: Man, he is wearing our national flag.

Just like every Manmohan Desai story, our film also had a happy ending. All of us found each other in Shamu's stadium for the last spectacle, Shamu - the Killer Whale Show. It was grand, as grand as the whale itself. Shamu made its entry amidst loud cheers from the crowd. It was awesome!

The last day was a total anticlimax. We were to spend an entire day again at Miami and the heavy rains just killed the fun. We stayed locked inside the hotel room throughout the day. Lets just keep it at that..but not before I mention the chicks walking to our hotel room at 3 in the night and greeting the sleepy Kallu with a '
Hello sweetheart'?

Par afsos us din hum sabka somwaar ka vrat tha :(

Let me just sign off with the last tiff between Abhishek and Sushant:

Abe kallu kaun thee?
Abhishek: Pata nahi kisi aur ko khoj rahi thee

Sushant: Bata na please
Bataya to

Nahi, kya keh rahi thee?
Abhishek: Kuch nahi, ab so ja

Sushant: Bata na yaar kya keh rahi thee?
Me: Pooch rahi thee ki hotel ke ek kamre mein 3 ladke kya kar rahe hain? Khud jaake pooch kyun nahi leta kya keh rahi thee?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Around Florida in 1000 Dollars - Part II

Orlando greeted us with blue skies, green grass and no hotel reservation. Official tour managers Faruk and Sushant took over with able support from our PR manager, Mohit 'Can we get a room over here' Juneja and we finally managed a fairly decent priced hotel.

The day was set for some exciting adventures and Universal didn't disappoint. You have to be there to feel it all. The rides were exhilarating - Hulk and Duelling dragons(roller coaster), Dr. Doom's Fearfall(free fall from 150 ft) and the others rocked. I didn't take the duelling dragon ride though because,

a.) I started feeling bored
b.) I already had one roller coaster ride and they felt all the same
c.) We had to cover the Universal studios as well,

I could go on with those excuses. The truth is that I simply felt uneasy taking that ride with my feet dangling in the air. Turned upside down with no base to keep your feet onto gave me jitters.

The best in the 'Islands of Adventure' theme park was undoubtedly the 'Adventures of Spiderman' ride. Believe me, you'll never feel as close to the virtual world as this ride makes you feel. Since we had bought the express passes for these rides, we didn't have to negotiate the long queues and almost all the rides were done in 6 hours flat!

The other theme park of Universal - 'The Universal Studios' was again a treat. Shrek, Back to the Future, 'The Mummy' ride and Terminator were all too good. We were all tired to the extreme by the end of it all and then that hot chick from Nascar restaurant robbed us of $150 for some silly nachos, fried chicken and diluted margaritas. I was totally against the extra $15 that everyone else wanted to give her(besides the 15% gratuity already included in the bills!) but had to bow down to the shit they call - 'Voting!' I lost 5-1-(Ratul Da kept thinking which way he would go).

The next morning was again the same old story.

Sushant: Abe kallu uth
Abhishek: Nahi tu uth..

..and the battle continued.

Now came the most controversial part of our trip. Though we decided in favor of Keneddy Space Center, it seemed that the 'Let's vote for it' ploy was not used in deciding. I was game for visiting NASA but the more adventurous of the lot were not. They however played the perfect gentlemen by not creating a 'Tu apne raaste ja main apne raaste' scene and we finally went there. IMAX movies(it was really good!), touching the surface of moon, almost experiencing the last 3 minutes of Apollo mission to Moon and having a look at the Atlantis space shuttle to be launched was good but not worth the fortune and the time that we spent going there. We were on the lookout for some simulated space walks and stuff but we returned disappointed.

The next on the list was 'Seaworld'. As we sat for lunch, the Kennedy Space Center wounds started to show up again. But again the gentlemen that we are, we set aside the minor tiffs and the plan to give Sushant the 'bumps' of his life and decided to have fun together, Hum Saath Saath Hain style!

The first show was the Dolphin show. Amazing would be the apt world to describe it. Loitering around here and there, we finally decided for th eonly roller coaster ride there. Kraken was a cracker. A high speed, real high, 'no-base' roller coaster ride and this time I decided not to play a spoilsport. I lost my Nike cap somewhere during the ride though!

The best part was yet to come though. Abhishek aka Kallu and Mohit were about to take centrestage and what followed was non-stop commotion and fun not just for us but also for the other people to see and feel. That's coming up this weekend though as I have some work to catch up with. Will get back soon!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Around Florida in 1000 Dollars - Part I

I went, I spent and I returned bankrupt! The only solace I derive is from Lord Krishna's golden words - "Tum lekar hi kya aaye thhey jo uske chale jaane ka dukh tumhe ho raha hai".

Well if you could not get what I am talking about, it is about my vacation to Florida last long weekend.

I know it'll be hard to sympathesize with me after knowing that out of the 7 guys who went there, no one had a valid driving license to drive in USA and we paid heavily for this by falling prey to the scourge of cab-wallahs who made it sure that our four days in Florida go down as probably the most 'silly-spending holiday' in our lives. Enough of this cribbing for now, Miami and Orlando sure were worth the fortune that we spent!

Our trip started on a very shaky note when Ratul Da came to realise to his horror that Abhishek wasn't carrying his flight tickets along with others'. There was a bit of blame game at the ticket counter and since the executive assiting us had to go and pee, she granted a seat in the flight to the harmless Ratul Da without any thorough checking.

Ernesto stepped back to give us some bright sunshine in Miami and we made a rush to the lifeguards' station on the beach expecting some baywatch babes there only to find a 60 something old man sipping lemonade and tanning his wrinkled skin. We made the next best possible use of being on a beach, played volleyball!

Night clubs by the beach side have quite cheap entries and two of us managed to dupe them of even that. That wasn't deliberate though. As the whole club swayed to the salsa beats, we kept to making swaying movements on our stool chairs engaging a waitress to get us Maragaritas, nachos and mozarella sticks.

Born and brought up in the Govinda land, salsa is essentially not our cup of tea unless we are professionally trained for it and back in India they teach you only if you come along with a partner! Also, from what I figure in the discs in India, even the usual Bhangra stuff that we all do when sadde Daler paaji croons a peppy number is basically a randon motion of hands and legs and from a distance resembles closely to the unruly and uncoordinated Bangalore Hosur Road traffic. Basically what I want to convey here is that most of us are just the jumping jacks who find themselves out of place when a club's DJ's music collection is devoid of any Daler paaji stuff.

Miami is also a place where you can really experiment and Sushant even tried doing that. But his half and hour efforts were annuled by his 'bed-partner' for the trip - Abhishek aka Kallu. The prospects of Sushant flourishing when given an opportunity were discussed at length and the jury unanimously decided that he stood no chance!

The next day we flew to Orlando. It is here that the daily early morning tiffs between Sushant and Abhishek need a special mention:

Time: 5:30 AM
Situation: I was back after getting fresh and these two were still sleeping. Our cab was to leave in another 30 min.

Me: Kaun jaayega ab bathroom? Make it fast now.
Sushant: Abe Kallu tu uth.
Abhishek: Nahi main nahi uthunga, tu uth

Sushant: Main roz apne ghar mein sabse pehle uthta hoon.
Abhishek: To yahan bhi uth ja

Sushant: Abe tu ja na
Abhishek: Tu ja. Main kal bhi tere se pehle utha tha

Sushant: Main agle do din uth jaaunga
Abhishek(giving up, rubbing his eyes): Utha diya saale. Mera shraap hai ki teri agli saat pushtein Kumbhkaran jaisi paida hongi.

For the next flight to Orlando in the morning, Ratul Da ensured that his tickets were in place. Orlando was much better weather wise and the trip turned out to be better and more (mis)adventurous
. Let's keep it for the Around Florida in 1000 Dollars - Dwitiya!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lage Raho Munna Bhai - Review

There are not many sequels that turn out to be better than their predecessors. James Cameroon worked wonders with Terminator's sequel in Hollywood and Raj Kumar Hirani does the same in Bollywood with Lage Raho. Its hard to decide the best part of this enterprise - direction, script or performances and that says a lot about the efforts of the entire unit of LRMB. Raj Kumar Hirani proved his worth with Munna Bhai and this film reiterates the fact that his success was not just a fluke.

Lage Raho won half the battle with its unusual storyline. If Munna Bhai gave us the '
jaadu ki jhappi', Lage Raho gives us 'Mahatma Gandhi'. Today the Mahatma's ideologies are a thing of the past - dead and buried with the generation of people who followed them and the Gandhi Topi today is synonymous with corruption. Lage Raho is an effort to remind us of all that Gandhi stood for and more. You can call it Raj Kumar Hirani's "Experiment With Truth!"

Sanjay Dutt delivers a top notch performance. As the lovable goon Munna, he wins hearts and this is one character that he is going to be proud of when he reflects back on his entire career. Ditto for Arshad Warsi as Circuit. He is to Munna what Hanuman was to Ram. And boy you got to watch out for the way he carries out an abduction in the first scene of the film!

Without taking the credit away from Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi, the script/screenplay are the real heroes of this film. One of my friends quite rightly remarked after watching the film that if the film cast you and me as the leading protagonists, even then the film could have pulled it off.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra's films have always had very powerful scripts - Parinda, 1942:A Love Story, Parineeta, Munna Bhai MBBS or LRMB, all winners in the story department! Vidhu Chopra also deserves a pat on the back for promoting talented directors. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Pradeep Sarkar and Raj Kumar Hirani have all proved him right.

The film has its share of shortcomings. There are a few glitches here and there in the film. At some places the film does go overboard but that is what I call the 'cinematic liberty' . The end portions get a bit boring. Munna Bhai MBBS was better in the climax if you compare. But the film makes up for it overall.

The songs are definitely worth a hear. Shantanu Moitra's music has a touch of the 70's and that makes him different from the current lot.

Its a film that I would recommend to all. Go watch it and yes, look around to see if Mahatma Gandhi is sitting besides you. Hope to see the Munna Bhai team coming up with another sequel - Lagey Raho MunnaBhai!

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